The newspaper has precedent on dozens of issues. Medical marijuana was never one of “my” issues — I understood the need, but I didn’t have any feel for the subject.
An op-ed in the New York Times Dec. 9 cured me of that.
“My Mother-in-Law’s One High Day” had the kind of headline that challenges you not to read it. It was the story of a very proper woman, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, who suffered through the unyielding pain of pancreatic cancer and the nausea and appetite loss that goes along with chemotherapy. Her son and her daughter-in-law (the author of the op-ed) ultimately suggested she try marijuana for relief. It worked.
“For the past month, we’d been trying to get her to eat anything…Sometimes she’d request some particular dish and we’d eagerly procure it, only to have her refuse it or fall back asleep before taking a bite. But this time she sat down at her favorite restaurant and ordered a gorgeous meal: whitefish poached with lemon, hot buttered rolls, salad — and ate every bite.
Then she wanted to go to Kimball’s, a local ice cream place famous for cones topped with softball-size scoops. ..(We) looked on in awe as my mother-in-law ordered a large and, queenishly spurning any requests for a taste, polished the whole thing off — cone and all — and declared herself satisfied.”
After that glorious day, the mother-in-law couldn’t be convinced to haul out the lilac-colored bong and take a few hits. She was afraid of being arrested, of getting her loved ones arrested, of becoming an addict.
She died a painful and messy death; too many deaths are, especially when it comes to cancer. The daughter-in-law and the son flushed the pain pills down the toilet, the same pills that dulled this formerly vital woman into a stupor-like state. (This was 1997, before people knew not to flush pills.)
I know the arguments against medical marijuana — the sham in California and other states, the insistence that medical science has better and more effective tools to relieve suffering, yada yada yada.
If it were your Mom suffering, and marijuana relieved her suffering, would you be in the mood for a high school forensics exercise? Not me.